How much does the impact of the play depend on Eddie's character and Catherine's innocence in "A View from the Bridge".

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Dawar Qhoraish              How much does the impact of the play depend on _        20/9/02

             Eddie’s character and Catherine’s innocence

How much does the impact of the play depend on

Eddie’s character and Catherine’s innocence

“A View from the Bridge” contains two central characters, Eddie and Catherine. Eddie is an Italian American dock worker who lives in a working class of Brooklyn, New York with his wife and her niece, Catherine. Eddie and Beatrice (his wife) are the legal guardians of Catherine as Catherine’s mum died.

Eddie is a man of Sicilian background and this builds up his character of a macho and stubborn man. Being of Italian descendant, he demands respect from Beatrice and shows sense of masculinity. Eddie’s views are narrow minded about the man’s working and protecting his wife, while the woman’s job is in the kitchen and in the home, knitting and cooking for her family. Beatrice, being a religious Catholic, stands by and obeys her husband.

        Eddie thrives on the respect he has from his neighbourhood in Brooklyn because in Sicily, people are in close-lit communities and so people that do not get respect from their community are isolated and hated. Being Sicilian, he also brings about the strong theme of justice into the play. This can be seen in the beginning when Eddie allows Beatrice’s cousins Marco and Rodolfo who arrived to New York illegally without informing the Immigration Bureau. He agrees because he believes that the law does not matter and your own rules, in terms of justice. These alternative rules are based on the views of the neighbourhood and a person’s own emotions and feelings. Eddie lets Beatrice’s cousins also because he believes that the family should look out for each other and should not let them down or betray them.

        Eddie then backs up his view by narrating the story of Vinny Bonzano, who tattled on his own uncle and was despised by his whole neighbourhood.

“And they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs...

And they spit on him the street, his own father and his brothers.

The whole neighbourhood was cryin’.”

“You can quicker get back a million dollars that was

stolen than a word you gave away.”

Vinny was disowned by the community and his own family conveying the harshness of the community to someone who breaks ‘their code’ and that even the ones near you will turn against you for this action. This is what Eddie is saying in the quote above. He says that the community is rarely forgiving to anyone that informs the Immigration Bureau of an illegal immigrant and that once the respect of the neighbourhood is lost, it can never be retrieved.

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Ironically, Eddie goes against these views when he tries to break up Catherine and Rodolfo, ignoring Alfieri’s advice that Catherine is a ‘free agent’ and that Rodolfo has not done anything illegally wrong by proposing to her. He contradicts himself by carrying out the unforgivable. Eddie telephones Immigration from a small payphone near his house and reports the two cousins.

“I want to report something. Illegal immigrants…

Four- Forty one Saxton Street, Brooklyn, yeah. Ground floor.”

        The change of Eddie is traced from the moment that Rodolfo charms Catherine by singing ‘Paper Doll and Eddie feels injustice ...

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